Contact with Alaska

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All this started in November, 2009. I tweeted link with map of USA where I mark confirmed states via LoTW. You know, I am not focused on collecting awards, but after some months, I was curious where my signal reach the USA and WAS data from LoTW was nice opportunity mark it onto map. After hearing names of US states many times before from TV and Radio, that was also great opportunity learn where they are exactly on the map.

Brad WF7T replied my twitter post and mentioned link where I can arrange sked with US stations. In our later email conversation he noted also several callsigns from KL7 and KH6, which seemed to me most challenging states to reach. After several days of thinking if I should write to someone of them or not, I choose Phil KL8DX. He is active on twitter and I became his follower at first. However, I was sceptic about chance work Alaska with 100w and vertical antenna, I composed email and sent it to Phil, at least learn little about propagations between our QTH, I thought. I have never heard before any signal from Alaska.

Phil replied immediately and filled me with a lot of optimism: “If we will not succeed now, we will keep trying until can do it.”, he wrote to me. We made several tries during next couple weeks. There are two good times perform tests, arround 6:00 and 16:00 UTC. Phil, heard and worked Europe sometimes, unfortunatelly it was not enough for qso with me. Condx was not good then for long time until Febuary when sun revived. Suddenly, Phil posted in his twitter stream information he can hear Europe pretty strong, it was Thursday 11. Febuary 2010.

I asked him to try another SKED. He could hear my signal very weak with his yagi, but his signal did not reach to vertical antenna on my side.. We were pretty close and arranged SKED for Friday. I came back from work and got message from Phil. I sit by radio, turned twice main dial knob and first whose I heard was Phil KL8DX. Wow, it was something unbelieveble. Quite strong with very soft flutter. With shaking hands on paddles we performed our CW QSO.. After all this time and effort from both sides it was great moment of fulfilment. This is QSO which I will not forget!

Today I upload this QSO to LotW and got it confirmed! So, after three months we did it, exact how Phil said. Thank you for great experience and big challange! Now I can mark also Alaska on my WAS map :-)

During this time I learnt also few more things:

  • there is website to arrange sked with US stations – http://www.obriensweb.com/sked/
  • there is HAARP VHF Riometer station, which monitor current ionospoheric absortion over north pole area and data are available online on the internet.
  • there is VOACAP software which makes computer model of radio propagation
  • Clublog.org project which generates various statistics from uploaded hamradio logbooks. There is feature which shows sum of qso during daytime between 2 dxcc entities. Useful tool find right time for qso from real data..
  • there is article explains more about Aurora

Information about propagation:

This page was rendered on 12-Feb-10 1653 UTC.

Current Sunspot Cycle Activity and Space Weather:
  Sun Spots: 64 as of 02/11/2010
  Flux: 94
  X-ray Solar Flares:  6h hi [M8.3][1119Z 02/12]
                      24h hi [M8.3][1119Z 02/12]

Current Space Weather Activity:
  Planetary A-index (Ap): 6
  Planetary K-index (Kp): 1 (7 nT)
  Solar Wind: 325 km/s at 1.0 protons/cm3, Bz is 1.0 nT

 (Feb 12, 2010 at 1644 UT)